Word loops provide students with an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the scientific vocabulary associated with a topic. As students actively use the language of scientific ideas and concepts, their knowledge, understanding and confidence are enhanced. 

A word loop is an activity that can be used when students are familiar with the vocabulary associated with the scientific ideas and concepts in the unit. Word loops can be developed from word walls or class science ‘chat-boards’. They involve matching words with their descriptions. The number of words can be increased during the unit with additional cards added as more words are introduced. Word loops can be used as a ‘concept check’ activity at the beginning of a lesson, as a consolidation learning activity or at the end of a lesson as a reflection or assessment activity.   


Word loops use a series of cards that have a description on the right-hand side and a scientific word or symbol on the left-hand side. The aim of the activity is to form a loop in which matching pairs of descriptions and words or symbols are made - similar to a game of dominoes.

Image demonstrating word loops

How to use word loops 

  1. Distribute word loop cards so each student or team has at least one card.
  2. The teacher, or nominated student/s, starts the activity by reading aloud the statement on the right-hand side of their card, for example, ‘A ray diagram needs these to show the direction light travels’.
  3. The student/s who has the matching word or symbol on the left-hand side of their card indicates that they have the answer and reads it aloud, for example, ‘Arrows’.
  4. The student/s with the matching word or symbol card moves to stand on the left-hand side of the person who read the matching description. That student then reads the description on the right-hand side of their card to continue the word loop.
  5. This process continues until all the pairs have been matched up and the loop is complete. When finished a circle is formed - if not, an incorrect match has been made.


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